Diego and other giant tortoises head to home island after saving their species

Having produced 2,400 offspring in one of the most successful captive breeding programs of all time, Diego and other giant tortoises have been moved from their breeding facility back to their native Española Island.

Diego was the star of the bunch. Born before 1920, he was captured and shipped to San Diego Zoo in the late 1920s or early 1930s. He ended up having hundreds of offpsring as part of the effort.

Via Galapagos Conservancy:

On June 15, 2020, the Galapagos National Park Directorate and Galapagos Conservancy returned 15 giant tortoises to Española Island (including the famous tortoise dubbed “Diego”) -- an island where tortoises nearly went extinct due to exploitation by mariners in the 1800’s. For the past 55 years, these tortoises were part of a successful captive breeding program that produced approximately 2,000 offspring and saved their species from extinction. This brief video documents the return of the 15 original Española tortoises to their home island to live out the rest of their long lives, formally marking the closure of one of the most successful endangered species breeding, repatriation and restoration programs in the history of conservation.

Image: YouTube / GalapagosConservancy